Berlin’s Pilecki Institute is using its 20th-century history research, including Nazi crimes during World War Two, to gather testimony from refugees regarding possible war crimes in Ukraine.
After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the International Criminal Court (ICC), began a formal investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Named after a Polish cavalry officer, the Pilecki Institute was founded to document war crimes by conducting interviews with refugees.
Mateusz Falkowski (deputy head of the institute), stated that they are gathering all witness reports on war crimes in Ukraine based on their experience as an institution that normally deals with the voices of victims from the Second World War.”
According to data from the Interior Ministry, more than 369,000 refugees fled Ukraine’s war.
Witness interviews begin with a brief written description of the witness’s situation during wartime. Then follow up with questions about specific events and times at those locations.
“For example, what occurred on the particular day and at this location, so in Mariupol or Kherson, or in any other locations. Falkowski stated, “Where they were and what exactly they saw.”
Falkowski stated that crimes such as the destruction of civil infrastructure or monuments, sexual violence, or other war crimes were all documented. He also said that the questionnaire was designed with legal professionals in mind to ensure that the data it contains is legal after the war.
He said, “That means scientifically speaking that we are building an archive of oral history.”
“I hope that Ukraine won’t be forgotten. Falkowski stated that the hope is that people in the West )… will remember…if they can rely on these materials, interviews and documents.
It is located within walking distance of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial.
The U.N.’s Human Rights Office stated that there is growing evidence of Russian war crimes against Ukraine. This included signs of indiscriminate bombardment and summary executions. It also said that Ukraine may have used weapons with indiscriminate results.
Russia refers to its incursion in Ukraine as a “specially military operation” that aims to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. It denies any war crimes or targeting civilians.